Morskie Oko is the largest and most beautiful lake in the Polish Tatras mountains, lying in the upper part of the Valley of Rybi Potok. It is located at an altitude of 1395m above sea level, opening up breath-taking views. Hiking to Morskie Oko takes about 18km both ways – longer if you decide to walk around it, or up to another lake to see the view down from the top.

Travelling to Morskie Oko

To get to Morskie Oko, you have to travel to Zakopane, the mountain city in south Poland. Check out my guide here to find out how to get to Zakopane from Krakow.

Once you arrive in Zakopane, you have to take a bus to Palenica Białczańska. It costs 10zl and your journey will include a few stops around the city. The bus isn’t hard to find at all because the buses have big signs on them.

You can also drive to Morskie Oko, but parking spaces fill up quickly so you might add a few extra kilometres to your walk by having to park further away. In high season, you might even be turned back!

The entry fee for the Tatras National Park is 5zl. You can pay by card or cash and there are food trucks and toilets available, too.

Hiking around Morskie Oko

Access to Morskie Oko is via a comfortable, wide, asphalt route with a gentle slope. If you don’t fancy the long hike though, you can also take a horse and cart for 40zl, but it’s not really recommended because it’s very hard work for the horses. The cart ride takes you to Włosienica, leaving a 20-minute hike to the lake.

At the halfway point, you can rest and refuel with the BBQ food and ice cream sold there.

Your hike doesn’t have to end when you reach the lake, though, and with a view that beautiful, you might want to stay a while. Conveniently, there’s also a restaurant and a hotel here to help you do so, but you’ll need to book several months ahead to get in.

After reaching Morskie Oko, you can stroll around the lake, hike to Czarny Staw (another lake located a bit higher), or even tackle Rysy, the highest mountain peak in Poland. Dolina Pięciu Stawów is also a good choice, being one of the most beautiful places in the Tatras mountains.

If you love to explore the great outdoors when you go away, you’ll love these five European beaches that are so stunning, you’d never believe they were short-haul.


  1. When I choose a place where to travel to, I always look if there are any beautiful national parks and hikes in the area. This lake looks absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to revisit Poland, hire a car and drive straight to the mountains!

  2. I really love glacial lakes, so I’d totally be up for hiking for 18 km to see such pretty views. Your photos of the lake are beeeautiful!

    It’s pretty cool that there is ice-cream half way there, and then a restaurant at the lake as well!

  3. This is gorgeous! I was in Zakopane in the winter and it made me want to return to hike some of the routes there. This sounds like a really nice trail to hike and it’s convenient you can access it on a bus and there is a restaurant for lunch. The photos of the lake remind me of Lake Louise in Banff!

  4. I’ve not read much (ok…anything, really) about Poland, but now that I’ve seen these photos I’m really surprised I haven’t heard more about it– what incredible views! Just another spot to add to the ever-growing dream destinations list.

  5. Wow, the lake gives me enough inspiration even when I am not a hiker 😀 The views, the clear water & reflection is extremely photogenic, no wonder the parking spaces fill up in the summers. Adding to my Poland bucket list.

  6. Fascinating! I had no idea there were such great hiking spots in Poland! The more you know 🙂 And kudos for not encouraging use of a horse-drawn carriage up the mountain. It really is backbreaking work for the horses!

  7. What a stunning lake and such a beautiful hike. Love the tall trees and the beautiful landscapes all around. I hope to visit Poland soon, and I’d love to take this hike. Thanks for the details!

  8. Morskie Oko in Zakopane is definitely the most popular place for hiking in Poland. Although, I would recommend to hike up to the highest mountain in Poland – Rysy, which is around 2500 meters. It will be much more interesting, harder and you will feel the real mountains and trails. As the hike to Morskie Oko is mostly paved road from the entrance.


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